When you shop for Instacart, you have two goals — boost your profits and save on your taxes. Here’s how to do it.
Know Before You Start
Being an Instacart shopper isn’t like other jobs. The main difference is that you’re usually considered self-employed.
The Instacart shoppers most people are familiar with are the full-service shoppers who both shop and deliver customer orders. Those drivers are almost always self-employed independent contractors.
Instacart also uses store shoppers who only shop orders either for customer pickup or another delivery service. Store shoppers can be employees or independent contractors depending on where you live.
Full-service shoppers and store shoppers who are independent contractors have two key things to keep in mind:
- Instacart doesn’t take out taxes. You’ll need to set aside money to pay taxes each quarter (more below).
- Instacart doesn’t pay for gas or other expenses. You have to pay your expenses from your income. If you’re looking at Instacart pay estimates, remember to check if it’s before or after expenses. You can claim your expenses as tax deductions (more below), but make sure you know how much you’re actually earning.
During the Year
During the year, there are two important steps you need to take to manage your Instacart taxes.
First, make sure you’re tracking all of your expenses. There are many accounting apps you can use that automatically track your mileage and other expenses. Don’t wait until April to figure out your expenses because you might forget things or not have enough proof.
Second, you’ll need to pay estimated taxes. Payments are due in April, June, September, and January for tax returns due the following April.
Now that you’re aware of these two important steps, keep reading to learn the specific details of what you need to do as an Instacart shopper.